Changes in EU Legal Regulations on Human Trafficking after Adoption of Directive 2011/36/EU

Agnė Urbelionytė


Human trafficking is a dynamic criminal phenomenon. There appear new forms of human exploitation. For example, in recent years the media widely covered cases of child recruitment in such schemes: criminals offered children ostensibly good and well-paid jobs abroad and those who accepted the offer were transported abroad, where the children were exploited via forced begging or criminality (e. g., they were forced into criminal activities such as pick-pocketing or shop-lifting). Accordingly these relatively new forms of exploitation of victims of human trafficking oblige the international community to keep under review the legal regulation of issues such as liability for trafficking in human beings, prevention of trafficking in human beings, and the like.
In recent years, in response to the latest trends in human trafficking, the European Union institutions held intense debate. The result of this debate is the Directive 2011/36/EU on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims, replacing Council Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA, which the European Parliament and the Council adopted on 5 April 2011 (the Directive 2011/36/EU). In light of the fact that the Directive 2011/36/EU has changed the European Union Council Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA of 19 July 2002 on combating trafficking in human beings (the Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA), this article intends to review a new legal regulation of human trafficking, which is laid down in the Directive 2011/36/EU. So the author introduces new rules of law, laid into legal regulation by the Directive 2011/36/EU but were not included in the Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA. First of all, the attention is drawn to the broader concept of human trafficking, which includes additional forms of exploitation. The author takes notice of the stricter European Union criminal policy on criminal repression for human trafficking (e. g. more severe penalties, added to the list of aggravating circumstances). Also, some provisions of preventive nature are introduced, which should lead to greater disclosure of human trafficking crimes. By analysing changes in European Union legal regulation of human trafficking the article is not only presents and compares them to the Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA. Besides, the article contains reasoned criticism of some formulations of provisions of the Directive 2011/36/EU.
The Republic of Lithuania as a member of the European Union is obliged to harmonise national legislation with the acquis communautaire (European Union law). In view of this, the article aims to assess the norm of trafficking in humans laid down in the Criminal Code of the Republic of Lithuania and to determine its compliance with the requirements of the Directive 2011/36/EU. The author provides some suggestions for possible improvements of the norm.


human trafficking; victim of human trafficking; exploitation; Directive 2011/36/EU; Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA

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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236